Wednesday, September 11, 2013

And It All Came Tumbling Down

THAT'S WHAT I GET FOR POSTING ABOUT WESTON'S SLEEP GETTING BETTER.  We've had 3 terrible, terrible nights.  I give up.  I've done it all.  I've done everything, *everything* the books, blogs and experts have told me.  NOTHING WORKS FOR LONG.  I'm hoping he'll be sleeping by the time he's 3 and I want him to know that this is the reason he will be an only child. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How I Got My Baby to Sleep

I'm scared to write this post for fear it will all come crumbling down.  My baby has been sleeping! For more than 2 hours! In my quest to find answers, I came across a lot of questions about sleep but no one ever updated with their results and what did/didn't work.  I found the blog, Troublesome Tots to be really helpful.  I especially enjoyed her series, "What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night"  Alexis, the woman behind the blog, did a video chat on Google+ that I attended where she answered tons of sleep questions, it was informative and I learned so much about babies and sleep. I also learned that I was NOT alone. 

I knew that Weston's pacifier had to go as it was a negative sleep association for him and causing him to wake-up constantly when it would fall out of his mouth.  A lot of people told me to wait it out, soon he'd be able to hold it in better but I knew it was more of a problem than useful tool, for Weston.  All babies are different and not everyone has the pacifier problem.  On August 1st, we quit the pacifier cold turkey starting with naps.  Of course this meant there would be crying but my husband and I took turns laying next to Weston and comforting him during his naps until he'd fall asleep sans pacifier.  The first day, naps were very, very short.  He never cried/fussed for very long, maybe 15 minutes at the most.  That night, he went to bed fairly easily without it, I was shocked.  It took about a week for him to not even fuss at all, we were sure to give him plenty of sleep cues (turn on white noise, zip him in his sleep suit, tell him goodnight, lay him in his crib and give him a soothie) and eventually we didn't have to lay next to him at all.  This has been the biggest and best improvement.  Now when I'm at my mom's and he has to nap in the PNP, I can do his little routine, lay him down and walk away...he'll fall asleep on his own! It makes traveling with him so much easier.  It's also nice that I'm not a distracted driver, reaching back behind me to give him a paci in his car seat so he'll sleep.  I was doing that one day and I rear ended my husband's truck.  That's actually the push I needed to see that I needed to make changes.  I kept doing the same thing with Weston and expecting to get a different sleep result. 

So now that he was able to fall asleep on his own I had to fix the other problem: getting him to stay asleep.  I had no idea how to do that.  I wasn't comfortable with night weaning at his age even though I knew most of his awakenings were not due to hunger.  I was feeding him because it's an easy way to get him back to sleep and involves no crying.  To be honest with you, I was tired of having my boob in his mouth all.night.long. It was an uncomfortable way for me to sleep, I was unhappy and wanted it to change.  After a really terrible night, I emailed Alexis from Troublesome Tots...I didn't think she'd answer me but it was worth a shot.  Two days later I was completely floored to have an email from her!  She told me that the reason I was getting a longish stretch of sleep early in the night (think 2.5, 3 hours) was because once Weston was caught up on a bit of sleep debt, he wanted to suck or worse, would be wide awake.  She said he still had a huge "suck = sleep" association and I solved 50% of the problem by removing the paci.  She told me that all I needed to do was separate nursing from bedtime by 20 minutes and that usually takes care of the issue and give it 3 days.  Well.  Wouldn't you know, it WORKED.  The first night he slept 6 hours, the second night 6 hours and 15 minutes and it has gradually increased each night.  Last night: 8 stinkin' hours! He has never slept 8 hours, ever.  And after he ate, he went back down for a few more hours.  It was GLORIOUS.  

It is so weird to change his diaper in the morning and it doesn't weigh 900lbs from him nursing all night long.  I feel more rested than I have in months, I am so much happier.  I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I can now stay up a little later and spend time with my husband, knowing that I can depend on Wes to give me a couple hours of solid sleep.  That was all I wanted.  I know it won't always be this great once teething and other milestones hit but I'm going to savor every minute of it because I've dealt with no sleep for so long, I'm allowed to enjoy this, to jump up and down and scream from the rooftop.  

So now I nurse him as the start of the bedtime routine.  I nurse, we play for a bit (5-10 minutes) or read a story then daddy does bath, lotion, diaper, jammies, sleep suit, white noise and lays him in his crib as the final step.  He goes down without a peep.  I'm thrilled Weston is getting more solid REM sleep and I'm not sure if it's been a result of his better night sleep or what but he's also napping longer during the day.  This is great for me because it means I get a bit of a break.  He was always a cat napper and I couldn't get much done during his naps. It also means that I can nap too! The past two days I was able to get a 30 minute nap in. I feel so much happier since catching up on my extreme sleep debt.  

I'm thankful I took action now and helped Weston master the tools to go to sleep and stay asleep on his own.  I always said that I would never sleep train and now, here I am.  I sleep trained and it was the best decision I could have ever made.  It's also possible to sleep train without doing cry-it-out, I'm proof of that.   If you are struggling with a baby who won't sleep, I'd highly recommend checking out Alexis's blog! She's a super hero!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Favorite Moments This Week

I mentioned in the 5 month post that I was soooo looking forward to when Weston would eat his piggies.  Well, wouldn't you know the ONE day I leave the house for 3.5 hours he goes and eats his piggies for his daddy!  My husband sent me these pictures while I was getting my hair done and I just about died from the sweetness.

We also didn't know he could hold a bottle.  He doesn't regularly get bottles so I'm always relieved when he takes one.  My husband said he grabbed the bottle from him immediately and held it the whole time.  He just needed some assistance with tipping it when the milk got low. 

He kept giving me this closed mouth grin today and I just melted.  His smile really makes me happy and can absolutely put me in a good mood.  
I'm still struggling with the sleep issues and I had another breakdown about it after another really bad night (last night).  I know I sound like a broken record to everyone, especially my poor husband.  I'm starting to wonder if co-sleeping is the problem?  It seems like he wakes up as soon as I go to bed...maybe he smells me?  I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or not but I'm kind of in a rush to finish his room and try him in there for a night just to see.  If you have any advice or if you had a bad sleeper who became a good sleeper, PLEASE tell me about it! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Months Old

I feel like I just wrote the 4 month post.  Geez.  Since I last updated Weston mastered rolling both ways, he is all over the place now.  I will put him on a blanket in the living room, turn around for 5 seconds, and he will have rolled himself to the middle of the floor.  

He started playing with toys and actively reaching for them, of course everything he grasps goes directly into his mouth. 

He also discovered his piggies (kills me) but hasn't put them in his mouth yet.  He just holds them and looks at them for now.  

He's started to make the crawling movements with his legs and arms when he's on his belly.  I feel like he's in such a rush to become mobile.

Still not laughing and just doing a scream/wide open mouth thing (absolutely adorable). Diaper changes are more difficult now since he constantly rolls to his side or tries to roll off the table...

Nicknames: Billy-Roo, Bebe & Baby Boy
Special skills: Eating his hands, toys, and rolling both ways
Most annoying features:  The lack of solid sleep for mama
Most desirable features:  He's the best baby.  He's always content, happy, and smiling.  I get so many compliments on what a 'good' baby he is.  I am comfortable taking him everywhere because he's so laid back.  My mom always comments that the only time he fusses (fuss...doesn't even cry) is when something is wrong which is usually a much needed burp. 
Dislikes: He started grumbling when he gets bored or needs a change of scenery. 
Likes: Car rides, the grocery store, running errands in the Nordic carrier, and daddy

For Reference:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Something Surprising

While I was pregnant I braced myself for stranger comments and unsolicited belly touches.  None of that ever happened to me.  I can recall one time, at a restaurant, a woman asking me when I was due and congratulating me but that was it.  I figured having a newborn would be the same way.  I generally get the feeling that most people don't like kids and babies. I think I see a news story everyday about some cafe' that bans children or some mother that had a screaming baby on an airplane (how dare her baby CRY).  That's fine.  Not everyone has to like kids, even I can't stand hearing kids whine and has to be the most annoying sound ever.  I was totally unprepared and FLOORED at all the attention I get when I'm out and about with Weston.  I cannot make it down the aisle in the grocery store without someone stopping me to talk to him, tell me how cute he is, ask me how old he is...etc.  I LOVE it!  I've met so many wonderful, kind people this way. I've received a lot of thoughtful advice and have been reminded how fast time goes.  And Weston is such a stinkin' ham, he gives everyone the biggest gummy smile.  It's the cutest thing ever.  I love that people take time out of their day to talk to me or to give my baby a compliment.  Even men have stopped me to say how cute it is to see Weston's chubby legs dangling from the baby carrier.  I don't know why but it gives me a little more faith in humanity.  I don't feel like the world is such an anti-baby, we-hate-kids place when people do this.  I'm sure most of my feelings stem from the fact we are the first in our group of friends/family to have a baby and I've seen the eye rolls when Wes would get fussy and heard the pitiful "oh that sucks you have to leave" comments when we head out of places early to get him to bed on time.  I don't mind these changes to my life.  I have no desire to be out drinking until 11PM or midnight.  I'm old.  I want to be home.  Having a baby is just the perfect excuse to have a reason to actually BE home.  You won't hear any complaints from me about that.  I've had almost a decade of carefree partying and I like this new chapter in my life.  I guess it just makes me feel a little less alone, a little less lonely when I get to have conversations with kind strangers on a daily basis and hear their encouragement and child rearing stories.  I've lived in our current home for 5 years now and probably talked to my neighbor only handful of times.  Cue having a baby and now I take Weston over there once a week (my neighbors are older, grandparent-y types).  They've bought Weston books and clothes, I couldn't believe it.  They absolutely dote on him and I love it.  He's such a fantastic, easy going baby that he deserves to be loved and spoiled by everyone.  I have no idea why a friendship wasn't struck up with my neighbors sooner but Weston was the ice breaker. I learned that they lost their son a few years ago so I think being around Wes is therapeutic for them in a way.  I was really surprised at how babies can bring people together or cause a stranger to tell you their life story.  It's an aspect of having a baby that I'm really enjoying right now!  I'm sure this will all change when I have a 2 year old, who is throwing a tantrum in the middle of Target, but for now I'm really enjoying this phase. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


In the post below I mentioned that I was done stressing about Weston and his lack of solid sleep.  There are quite a few reasons for this, one of them being what the stress did to me.
Isn't that lovely?  I've had what I thought was an eczema outbreak, starting few weeks after Weston was born.  I thought it was due to raging, crazy postpartum hormones and was using hydro-cortisone to treat it.  I kept putting off seeing a dermatologist because sometimes it would almost completely go away.  I woke up with painful, dry, and raging red eyelids a few Fridays ago.  My doctor is not open on Friday and the only dermatologist covered by my insurance wasn't taking appointments until OCTOBER.  So me and Weston ended up at Urgent Care.  I couldn't ignore it any longer.  The doctor on call was WONDERFUL and so was Weston, he was so patient and content...we were there for awhile and I appreciated it.  I was diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis.  The doctor asked me when I first started noticing the flare ups and if I was stressed.  OF COURSE I AM STRESSED, my baby doesn't sleep and the entire week before this serious flare up I was an emotional wreck...constantly crying and tired and in a hazy fog of self pity for me and my broken, non-sleeping baby.  And coincidentally the flare ups didn't start happening until a few weeks after giving birth when the stress first started. Taking care of a newborn for the first time is exhausting.  I realized I was running myself into the ground.  I have been a ball of anxiety and stress lately and it's not good.  I need to start taking better care of myself.  I've been stress eating cookies and ice cream lately and just haven't been feeling good...there was a time where I was eating healthy and getting out everyday to hike with I was letting myself go and it was taking a toll.  I needed an attitude and lifestyle change.  This is where I am at now.  No more stressing.  I have to relax and let things go.  I have to stop Googling about babies and sleep.  I have to stop eating cookies.  If I can't get the rest my body needs at night then I need to fuel my body with exercise and healthy foods during the day or I will not survive this.  I still haven't mustered up the energy to do a workout DVD when he goes down for the night.  I am still walking with him and a dog when the weather is good.  I've been eating tons of green veggies (mostly Kale) each day and haven't touched a cookie in 2 weeks.  I'm scared to step on the scale.  I was 10lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight last month but I am most certain I've gained a bit back.  That's okay.  I'm aware that I was self-destructing and self medicating with food.  I am trying to stop this behavior since the raging, red eyelids were a wake-up call for me. 

A Sleep Update

We've made some changes around here...mostly taking away the pacifier for naps and bedtime.  It was hard but I knew we had to do it because Weston was waking up 5 times between when he'd first go down for the night (6:30-7ish) and when I'd go to bed at 8:30-9ish for his pacifier.  I Googled and read a lot of stories from people who were having the same problem, needing to replace a lost pacifier a million times at night, and their success stories inspired me to bite the bullet and get rid of it.  Also, my husband really encouraged it too.  He did the first shift one night so I could get a solid 4 hours of sleep and he told me how ridiculous it was that Weston would drop the pacifier out of his mouth a million times and we had to replace it constantly until he fell asleep.  He definitely gave me the push to do it and he really helped me a lot because I cannot stand to hear Weston cry but he could be the strong parent during the transition. 

We still do use the paci during the day, out in public for general fussiness but I plan to completely phase it out by 6 months. I was also reading Ferber's book (more on that later) and he said it would only take 2 nights without a pacifier for a baby to master falling asleep without it.  This is what I wanted.  I wanted to be able to lay Weston down in his crib or PNP (when at Grandma's) and walk away and not have to monitor the nap and pacifier until he fell asleep.  A lot of people said after their babies mastered not needing a pacifier to fall asleep, they started sleeping 8 and 9 hours straight.  Yeah, of course that didn't happen for me.  Why would it?! But I am able to lay Weston down in his crib, give him his soothie, turn on a white noise machine and walk away.  Lately, he doesn't even fuss at all, he'll play with his soothie for a bit and fall asleep.  It is WONDERFUL.  I am so much happier that I am not dealing with his pacifier and how often he'd wake up when it fell out of his mouth.  HOWEVER it did not make him sleep any longer or better.  He still wakes up 3 times during the night to nurse and I do not believe many of those wake-ups are due to hunger, I think he just doesn't know how to stay asleep or put himself back to sleep on his own.  I do think I need to lower my expectations about sleep.  We all hear about babies (and it seems there are a lot of them recently) who sleep 12+ hours at night at like 10 weeks old.  I believe those babies are the exception and not the norm.  

I am *hoping* that as time goes on Weston will become a better sleeper.  I do not want to be getting up 2-3 times at night with a 1 or 2 year old.  I know people do that.  I read about it all the time on mommy message boards and it terrifies me that that could be my future.  I've always been a person whose favorite time of day was bedtime (I know, but it's true).  I LOVED getting in bed at night, snuggled between my dogs, reading a good book until I fell asleep and woke up whenever I wanted on my own.  The hardest part of becoming a mom is having that taken away from me when it seems like so many other moms STILL GET THAT!  I was prepared to be up a lot at night with newborn.  We all know that going into motherhood.  I just never thought it was going to last 5 months and probably longer.  Lately Weston will wake up 3 hours after I put him down and I know he isn't hungry.  But I still nurse him back to sleep anyway because it's easy.  As soon as I feel him comfort sucking, I unlatch him and move him to his crib and he usually goes back to sleep on his own.  Sometimes he won't and we end up bed-sharing.  I really don't like bed-sharing anymore because I have to sleep at a weird angle around him and it hurts my back.  The side-cared crib is a great option for me right now because I get my bed back but Wes is still close enough to nurse without getting fully awake. 

So onto Ferber...the controversial Ferber method aka CIO aka cry it out.  I stopped reading his book around Chapter 6 or 7, I forget which chapter discusses night weaning.  His method didn't seem so terrible or bad at first and his book had a lot of great sleep information.  HOWEVER he completely pissed me off when he said that babies 3-4 months old have no need to eat at night and parents who nurse them at every wakening are basically creating bad habits that now (AND FOR THE REST OF TIME!!!!KDJGA;LKJFD;L!!!!!) you'll have to nurse or bottle feed your baby back to sleep for MOTN awakenings.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????? So, as a new mom, when my 3 month old baby woke up at night, I wasn't suppose to feed him?  How the hell does Ferber know that the baby isn't hungry?  Especially a breastfeeding baby and growth spurts.  Breastfeeding is a supply and demand thing, if Weston doesn't demand more food, my body won't produce what he needs.  And even now, when I'm pretty sure he isn't hungry I still do not actually *know* if he's hungry or not and I just don't feel comfortable denying a 4 or 5 month old baby a nursing session(s) at night.  Totally out of my comfort zone, night weaning.  Maybe this will change when he's older but I can't do it now.  So now I have another thing to stress about, I got rid of the pacifier habit only to have a baby with a nursing at night habit. 

So as you can tell, I've spent a lot of time and energy (that I don't have) worrying, stressing, being angry and I've just decided to GIVE IT UP.  I can't change anything (I could night wean according to Ferber but I'm not comfortable doing that now) and I think I'm expecting a soon-to-be 5 month old to just be a fantastic sleeper because I said so.  I am hoping (and praying) that his sleep habits develop and mature over time to something more suitable for the both of us.  If that doesn't happen by a year old, I'll reassess the situation again.  

For reference we had a great night on Sunday.  He slept a solid 6 hours, ate, then 3 hours, ate then 2 hours and up for the day.  We haven't had a night that good in FOREVER.  But as is everything with Weston, he gives no consistency and has been waking every 3 hours since that night.  3 hours is better than 2 hours so I'll take it.  And in every other aspect he is just the best, cutest baby ever so at least we have that.